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Military

First group of BMT graduates begin sensor operator technical school

by Sean Bowlin
12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

1/26/2010 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- Fourteen Basic Sensor Operator Training students, eight of whom are the first to begin the course fresh from Basic Military Training, began their first day of academics Jan. 15 here.

The class, which also includes six prior-service students, will undergo 168 hours of training during the next 21 academic days at the only technical school on Randolph AFB, said Tech. Sgt. Michael Arroyo, a Det. 1, 12th Operations Group BSOT instructor.

The training includes six blocks of instruction encompassing an introduction to the sensor operator career field, sensor operations, communications, geospatial reference systems, full motion video operations and joint force operations taught through a combination of academic lecture and simulator training. The students will earn 10 credits toward a Community College of the Air Force degree upon completion of the BSOT course.

The biggest challenge he faces in BSOT will be finding the time to study, said Airman 1st Class Scott Mitchell, who recently graduated from BMT.

"We're taking in so much information," he said. "I want to be able to apply it to my job and not learn it just to pass tests."

Airman Basic Joshua Davison, also fresh from BMT, said to him the course has definitely been set up to teach the basics of the career field. The informal culture, traditions and general lore of the field will come later, over time, as the history of its graduates endures.

His technical school military training leader, Master Sgt. Sammy Garvin, agreed.

"These guys are the legacy," he said. "It's up to them to make history and set the right standards."

Airmen Mitchell and Davison's classmate, Staff Sgt. Tyler Fritz, said the recent BMT graduates will be assisted in acclimation to the Air Force through the Air Force's newest technical school by him and the other prior service Airmen in the course, Sergeant Garvin and two more incoming military training leaders, and three additional instructors scheduled to arrive soon.

"We, as prior service Airmen, have to make sure the recent BMT graduates are up to par, because they'll be our troops, " Sergeant Fritz said.

Part of keeping up to par is enforcing adherence to military standards. As at most technical schools, the BSOT Airmen march from the dormitory to meals and class, in addition to conducting physical training as a group three times per week. There are also cleaning details around the dorms and study time.

Airman Mitchell said having his own dorm room was a pleasant change from BMT. He also enjoys the small size of the classes and the fact that Sergeant Garvin and the course instructors perform PT with the students and worked hard to get them acclimated to their surroundings in short order.

Part of their surroundings includes a lot of high-level visitors and attention from fellow base residents. Having a technical school with recent BMT graduates that represents a paradigm shift in Air Force culture on Randolph AFB is still a novelty to most base residents.

"It's been a unique experience," the sergeant said. "Right now we are a showpiece. How many tech school students can say they've met the commander of the Air Education and Training Command, his vice commander, the base commander, the base command chief and the secretary of the Air Force?"



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